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False accusation blush, and tyranny
I ne'er heard yet,
That's true enough;
Leon. You will not own it.
More than mistress of,
1 Own, possess.
2 Encounter so uncurrent is unallowed or unlawful meeting --Strained means swerved or gone astray from the line of duty. The explanations of this passage are not very satisfactory. It appears to be designed as a question.
3 It is to be observed that originally, in our language, two negatives did not affirm, but only strengthen the negation. In this passage, Johnson observes that, according to the present use of words, less should be more, or wanted should be had.
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
With whom I am accused,) I do confess
Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know
Your actions are my dreams;
Sir, spare your threats ; The bug,' which you would fright me with, I seek. To me can life be no commodity.
1 See note 1, p. 35. To stand within the level of a gun is to stand in a direct line with its mouth, and in danger of being hurt by its discharge. This expression ofter occurs in Shakspeare.
2 i. e. they who have done like you. 3 Bugbear.
The crown and comfort of my life, your favor,
This your request
[Exeunt certain Officers.
1 « Starred most unluckily;" ill-starred, born under an inauspicious planet.
2 Strength of limit, i. e. the degree of strength which it is customary to acquire before women are suffered to go abroad after child-bearing.
3 The completeness of my misery.
Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMENES and Dion. Offi. You here shall swear upon this sword of jus
tice, That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have Been both at Delphos; and from thence have brought This sealed-up oracle, by the hand delivered Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then, You have not dared to break the holy seal, Nor read the secrets in’t. Cleo. Dion.
All this we swear. Leon. Break up the seals, and read.
Offi. [Reads.] Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten ; and the king shall live without an heir, if that, which is lost, be not found.
Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo !
Ay, my lord; even so As it is here set down.
Leon. There is no truth at all i'the oracle.
Enter a Servant, hastily. Serv. My lord the king, the king ! Leon.
What is the business? Serv. O, sir, I shall be hated to report it; The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear Of the queen's speed, is gone. Leon.
How! gone? Serv.
Is dead, Leon. Apollo's angry; and the Heavens themselves Do strike at my injustice. [HERMIONE faints.
How now there? Paul. This news is mortal to the queen.-Look down, And see what death is doing.
1 This is almost literally from Greene's novel. 2 i. e. of the event of the queen's trial. We still say, he sped well
Take her hence;
[Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies, with HERM
Woe the while ! O cut my lace; lest my heart, cracking it, Break too!
1 Lord. What fit is this, good lady?
Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me? What wheels ? racks ? fires ? What flaying? boiling In leads or oils? What old, or newer torture Must I receive; whose every word deserves To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny
1 Certain is not in the first folio; it was supplied by the editor of the second.